A fisherman all his life, Carlos Valdes developed a passion for cooking from his mother, and a dream to open a restaurant. When he and Dulce borrowed money to purchase the building in 2005, now the Havana Café in Chokoloskee, Florida, Dulce’s mother “Mima” said, “Are you crazy? You’ve never run a restaurant and it’s in the middle of no where!”
For the first three years, Dulce, with the help of her mother, Mima; niece, Jenny; uncle, Tio Chucho; and Dulce’s brother, Carlitos, they worked their tails off to cultivate Carlos’ dream of opening a restaurant.
Word of mouth brought locals and visitors to Havana Café for the best Grouper and Cuban sandwiches with cozy indoor seating and an outdoor patio surrounded by beautiful tropical trees and flowers planted by Tio Chucho and now maintained by Miguelito.
In 2008, Carlos decided he was ready to leave commercial fishing and join Dulce in the kitchen.
This is when the menu flourished because Carlos loves being creative in the kitchen. Dulce naturally took over leadership of the business operations, greeting customers, and hiring serve staff.
According to Carlos and Dulce Valdes, the entire experience has been about learning. Success is a result of the love for family, friends, food, and a passion for not giving up.
Known for home-cooked, high quality Cuban food with Caribbean Island influence, the Havana Café of the Everglades is a destination on Chokoloskee Island, located in the 10,000 islands in South Florida.